If college is on your radar, you may be thinking about the best ways to stand out from other applicants and get admitted to your top choice school. With the number of college applicants up and number of admitted students going down, more and more students are looking for ways to stand out from other applicants. There is no need to feel overwhelmed. Use my list of recommendations and plan your summer break to optimize your college application.
Try an On-Campus Summer Program
Many colleges offer on campus programs during the summer. By taking advantage of these residential programs, you can stay on campus, take classes with professors in the major of your choice and meet other students. For example, Albion College offers many summer programs geared to a variety of majors. Students can even choose a program that offers college credit to those who complete it.
Visit a Campus
If your schedule does not allow for an intensive on campus experience, try visiting the campus. Many colleges offer tours and admissions information sessions. You can schedule these online at the college’s admissions website. While it is best to visit while school is session, touring a campus during the summer is common due to high school student’s busy schedules. We often drive through a campus during schools vacations and make a trip out of it. In the past year, we have visited Albion College, University of Michigan, Boston College, Boston University, Northwestern and University of Chicago. The campus tour is a tried and true way to walk the campus, try the food and envision yourself there. And it provides quality family time as I cover in my recent blog post.
Take a Test Prep Course
Whether you are taking the SAT or the ACT, you need to prepare for it. The higher your score, the better your changes of getting an offer for admission. In addition, many schools use the test scores to dole out scholarship money. There is no reason to walk into an entrance exam without seeing a sample test at least once.
Start your Essays
You CAN do this now! The prompts have not changed too much from year to year according to The Common App, so browse these topics and get started. I always recommend that students think about major milestones in their lives such as trips, family celebrations, extracurricular activities or sports achievements. Writing is a process so allow yourself to brainstorm and put thoughts together without judgment at first. Once you identify a topic you feel passionate about, you will be able to tie in one of the commonly used prompts. As you are writing, I suggest that you use Grammarly to check your work. From grammar and spelling to style and tone, Grammarly helps you eliminate errors and find the perfect words to express yourself.
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